In an opinion piece entitled "How to Close the Skills Gap" Senators Mary Landrieu and Patty Murray illustrate why dealing with Democrats is impossible. Their predictable response to financial crisis precipitated by out of control government spending is to provide more compelling reasons for more government spending.
Adding to the urgency of the situation is the reality that the U.S. competes in a global economy, and businesses today take stock of assets around the globe when they make investment decisions. The sad fact is that we spend considerably less than other developed countries on labor-market policies, including work-force training and job-search programs. At the individual level, the U.S. invested only $908 per labor-market participant—$84 dollars, or 9.2%, less than the average amount spent by other member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
We believe that the skills gap is a consequence of our failure to seriously invest in the education of America's work force. Without an educated pool of workers from which to hire, small businesses are bearing the financial burden of teaching these skills.
John Russo, the president of Scientific Analytical Solutions in North Kingston, R.I., recently talked to the AP about the problem his small business faces: "It's very difficult to find the right person, and there's all walks of life trying to find jobs. I honestly think there's a large swath of unemployable. They don't have any skills at all."That's right, we have a skills gap, and a surplus of unempolyables. That wouldn't have anything to do with an education system that indoctrinates children on the primordial importance of learning to use a condom before being able to, gay marriage, abortion on demand, and voting Democrat, would it?
Notice also the statist presumption: people are not prepared; ergo it's government's fault for not preparing them, and government's responsibility to do something. Noman wonders if people might bear any responsibility for preparing themselves, or families have a responsibility to prepare their members, or churches have a responsibility to prepare their faithful. The great unspoken in all statist campaigns to fix the poll-tested problem de jour is this: money is to be siphoned away from individuals, families, the church, and all associations intermediate to the dependent individual and the capacitated state. This was Rousseau's dream, and the French revolutionaries'. It's a destructive dream contrary to human nature and to a sane political economy.
People don't need the federal government to fix all their problems. People need to develop an ethos of fixing their own problems and their loved one's problems so that everyone else doesn't need to be burdened with them. Then, they should look around to find those needing a hand. Legend has it that this was the American ethos until sometime during the past century. Perhaps we should revive it, and vote out people who are wrong-headedly dedicated to the statist ethos.
Mary Landrieu--she of the $300 million ObamaCare bribe--Patty Murray and their party don't see it that way, however.
As we work to create jobs and get our economy back on track, closing this skills gap needs to be a top priority. A critical first step: reauthorizing and reforming the Workforce Investment Act, our nation's foundational federal work-force development policy. We also need to expand innovative approaches that have produced results, such as career pathways programs that provide labor-market information to students and job seekers about in-demand jobs, and the skills and education necessary to get them.
Other important elements of tackling this problem include integrating education and work-based learning, and supporting strategies that allow learners to work while receiving training (also known as "earn and learn" strategies). We should also support public–private partnerships that draw on the expertise of successful members of the business community to help provide assistance and job-preparation advice to our work force.
Building a bigger and more highly skilled work force will help our small businesses step up to global competition. There's no excuse to delay getting to work on the problem any longer.
There you have a pristine statement of the statist, Democratic party position. First, we need to reauthorize a federal program. Then we--the federal government, that is--need to expand innovative approaches. Then we need to reinvent the apprenticeship system that education reformers unwisely threw away more than a century ago. Then we need the federal government to work things out with the business community (which will undoubtedly be called upon to foot part of the bill, confer perks on pols and contribute to their campaigns).
Noman sees several excuses to "delay getting to work on the problem." First, Noman isn't sure why the federal government is needed to do anything mentioned above except reauthorize federal legislation and the money it lards troughs with. And, it shouldn't do that, for both economic and moral reasons. All of the rest of their suggestions, and better ones, can be adopted without the interference of government. Secondly, the nation just went through a nail-biting negotiation that resulted in a debt rating downgrade precisely because one of the two parties is still dedicated to the government's spending ever increasing amounts of borrowed or taxed money. This party thinks that as long as there is a public problem somewhere, there is an imperative for a costly public solution. Noman disagrees. What America needs more of is private, self-dependent solutions to what gets called a public problem when viewed in the aggregate.